Dowdell and Murphy power Tigers to a playoff clinching win

Published 8:35 pm Wednesday, February 15, 2023

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It was anything but easy for the Troup girls basketball team on Wednesday as they used a fourth quarter surge to overtake Riverdale 57-43 and earn a spot in the AAAA state playoffs.

“I’m just so proud of my girls,” said Troup head coach Carla Thornton said. “We set a goal for ourselves to make it to state, and now we have done that. We have pretty much a whole new team. I know they are capable of doing a lot of things and they showed that today.”

The Tigers had to overcome some early adversity as the offense sputtered in the early goings. The Troup offense could muster just six points in the first quarter. Troup trailed by five after the opening quarter, and it could have been worse if not for their defense keeping them in the game.

“We have to get off to a better start,” Thornton said. “The further you go, the harder teams get, so it will be even harder to comeback against teams.”

The offense led by Angie Dowdell and Alexcia Murphy sparked to life in the second quarter. Murphy scored six and Dowdell had five as the Tigers were able to swing the momentum and take a 25-22 lead into halftime. 

It proved to be a four quarter war as Riverdale was able to trim the deficit to just a single point heading into the fourth quarter. It did not take Riverdale long to tie the game early in the fourth quarter at 37. 

With the season on the line, the Tigers buckled down and scored seven straight to stop the bleeding. Dowdell, Murphy and Sheniyah Philpot scored all 20 of the Tigers’ points in the fourth quarter to close out the win. Dowdell led the way with nine in the quarter.

The Tiger defense controlled the fourth quarter and only allowed two baskets in the fourth quarter, which never allowed Riverdale to get some momentum late and get back in the game.

“It felt like we really turned it up a gear toward the end,” Thornton said. “Both teams were tired, but we were able to find a way to get some momentum and get some stops, which led to some easy baskets. That was huge for us.”

Despite not scoring a point, Jaz Williams brought some energy off the bench for the Tigers.

“Jaz came in to the game and gave us a real boost,” Thornton said. 

Dowdell and Murphy ended the game as the joint highest scorers with 19 points. Philpot finished with nine points — seven of which came in the fourth as she heated up at the right time. 

Troup is now entering the semifinals of the region tournament. The Tigers will have a tough task on Thursday when they play no. 1 seed Fayette County. A win would see Troup advance to the region championship game and lock in a home playoff game.

“We have to be more efficient,” Thornton said. “There were a couple of times where we got a lead and then let them back in the game today. We have to control what we can control in that game.”